How To Build a Sauna

You've decided to build a home sauna and feel a bit lost on how to start. This guide will provide the information you're looking for to help you transform that extra space or room in your house into a beautiful and relaxing sauna.

Sometimes an active lifestyle can be overwhelming for our mental health and body, and a means to ease stress and muscle soreness can significantly improve our overall feeling of wellness. Relaxing in a sauna can relieve sore muscles and anxiety, but it can also even help people with high blood pressure and arthritis. 

When Should You Consider Investing In A Sauna

home sauna interior

If you appreciate how beneficial soaking in the soothing heat of a sauna is for your health, then investing in one might be the right choice for you.

Paying for a premium membership at your favorite gym or spa can become costly in the long run, and not only that, driving there is time-consuming. Having a home sauna can make it easier on your wallet, save you that 10 to 20-minute drive, and give that extra space in your home or backyard a good use.

Saunas will increase your home value, but they are not for everyone; they are considered a luxury unless you live in Finland. When looking to buy a house, some people will see your sauna as a big reason to buy it, and others might not even bat an eye. So if you plan on staying in that house for a while, investing in one is the right choice.

Types of Saunas

You can choose two main types of saunas, indoor or outdoor. If you'd like to know their differences, you can click here.

Indoor Saunas

This type of saunas can either be pre-cut or pre-fab and are an excellent option for people looking to transform an unused room or an extra space into a luxurious at-home spa.

Outdoor Saunas

Outdoor saunas are ideal for those who do not have enough space inside their home or want to enjoy a cozy and reinvigorating session in a quaint and traditional outdoor environment.

There isn't a right or wrong here. When you choose your sauna, the available space, budget and preferences will ultimately determine your final decision.

Preparing And Planning

Proper planning is essential for your project! Here are some things that will help you prepare for this home project.

Location and size

Indoor saunas can be placed in a bathroom or garage (avoid carpeted floors when choosing the location for your indoor sauna). For outdoor saunas, the ground must be level, and you might need to install a nearby electrical outlet if you are getting an electric heater.

Type of Sauna Heater

There are three types of sauna heaters, wood-burning, gas-fueled, and electric.

Electric heaters are considered the most convenient as they can be turned on just by flicking a switch and can be regulated with a remote controller. 

Gas heaters are an excellent option for people looking for a "cost-effective" and "energy-efficient" way to heat their home sauna and can be very convenient for outdoor saunas.

Wood-burning heaters are fantastic for areas where electricity is difficult to access or simply not available. Although heat can be a bit tougher to regulate with this type of heater, the heat tends to be warmer and more fitting for a sauna.

Choose the Materials


Regardless of building from scratch or buying a kit, you'll need to choose the materials and style. Cedar is a highly recommended type of wood, but other good options include poplar, basswood, pine, and hemlock.

Personalize Your Sauna

A benefit of building a sauna is the availability to customize it. From glass doors to LED lights, the options to personalize a sauna kit are virtually unlimited. Furthermore, if you're building an outdoor sauna, it becomes part of the landscape, so get creative!


Being prepared can never hurt your project, even if most sauna kits have the necessary tools to build them.

  • Rubber mallet 
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Locking pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Hammer or nail gun air compressor
  • Saw
  • Level
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil


(pre-cut saunas usually include all the necessary materials)

  • Staples
  • Sauna foil vapor barrier
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Foil barrier
  • Fuel source: Electrical wiring, Gas pipe, or Firewood.
  • Sauna heater

Instructions to Build a Sauna 

There are many ways to build a sauna, from transforming a room with a pre-kit to building one from scratch. Pre-cut sauna kits usually come with a build manual and over-the-phone assistance.


Whether upgrading a current living space or an outdoor area into a sauna, start by getting the foundation ready. Indoor saunas can use tile, cement, or vinyl, and outdoor saunas need to be built on leveled ground (it would be best to assemble the sauna on a deck, a porch, or a separate structure).

Wire For Electricity

If you plan to use an electric heater, ensure your indoor sauna has a nearby outlet to avoid running extra wiring through your walls. For outdoor saunas, electricity can be reached by installing an electrical outlet nearby. If you plan on using a gas heater, install a gas pipe. Call a certified electrician or a plumber in case you need professional assistance.


Insulate the interior walls with R-11 and outside walls with R-19 fiberglass insulation. Purchase insulation with the correct width based on your stud spacing, either 16-inch or 24-inch.

Vapor Barrier

You will need to staple afoil vapor barrierto the inside of the walls and ceiling.


Indoor saunas will need a venting system installed to provide better airflow circulation. The lower vent brings fresh air, and the upper vent releases stale air or steam. 


Beginning at one side of the ceiling, nail the cedar paneling right to the ceiling joists. Cover the whole ceiling top, cutting a gap for the lightbox where required. At that point, introduce the tongue and groove divider sheets on a level plane, beginning at the bottoms of the dividers. The tongues ought to be arranged upward, grooves descending. Introduce paneling sheets in full columns and check for level every fourth push of sheets. Cut holes as required to suit electrical fittings.

Install The Heater

Sauna heaters come with a manufacturer manual for the installation. The manual will indicate the separation required between the walls and the floor. We recommend calling a certified electrician if you are unsure how the wiring works.

Add The Sauna Rocks

Sauna rocks will come with a sauna heater. Sauna rocks help the heater to provide a more balanced heat and create steam.

Add Your Sauna Benches

Set the benches in place. The size of the courts will vary depending on personal preferences (pre-cut kits usually come with one high and one low bar.)

Install The Door

When installing the door, make sure all air gaps are closed. You can use shims to square up the door frame. Once you are sure all air gaps have been completed, fasten your door. Then install the door handle.

Finishing Details

This step is where you can install all the extras, LED lights, handrails, backrests, and even customize the outside of your sauna. 

Note:Avoid using toxic chemicals to stain the interior wood as these chemicals can release toxic fumes that are harmful to our health. 

When To Call a Technician
We strongly recommend reaching out to a certified plumber or electrician if you are unsure about electrical wiring or gas pipes.